Rajesh Jain is a person I admire. Not because he made Rs. 500 crore at the height of dotcom craze! But because he practices the same values that I always thought were and should form the core of my value system. It helps me get more conviction that I can achieve my vision by following this value system.
Given below is one among a series of letters that Rajesh is writing to his new-born son Abhishek. Here he talks about the Power of passion.
Understand the Power of Passion
There are two attributes that I have found which can make a big difference – passion and discipline. Passion is about the energy that we bring to what we are doing. Discipline is the process we follow to getting things done. Let’s talk a little about both of these.
Think of passion as infectious enthusiasm. It is about the force that we bring in the work we do – and how we can positively impact those around us. I learnt the power of this during my first year at IIT. I was contesting for the hostel elections – standing for the post of Literary Secretary. My opponent was one of the most well-liked seniors. No one gave me a chance to win – I was after all a “freshie.” But having made the decision to contest, I was determined not to end up with the same result as when I had stood for School Captain a few years ago. (I had then lost by a narrow margin – after I forgot my speech.)
So, this time around, I decided to campaign hard. I was the underdog, so big deal. I had little to lose. I met with almost every single hostelite, explaining my plans for what I’d do if I were elected. I only had my passion working for me. It was a big change for me. I was until that point of me an introvert – content to live in my own small world. But having decided to fight, I knew that unless I changed, I stood no chance. It was one evening that one of my seniors in the hostel told me – “You know, Rajesh, what we really like about you is your infectious enthusiasm.” That is a statement I have not forgotten to this day.
As it turns out, I did win the elections – by a couple votes. That was the only election I had to fight in IIT – as I went on to become General Secretary (Cultural), one of the highest posts in the student government. When I look back, it was that election which turned the tide for me. It changed me – for the better. It also showed me the power of passion.
It was the same passion that I had going for me when I started IndiaWorld in 1994 and had to go out and source content from various publishers. I had to make them see a world built around the Internet that did not exist. I had to make them believe me. That is where Passion comes in. It is one of the greatest assets we can possess – especially when we are trying to persuade others.
Passion comes from an inner belief – you have to let your inner feelings reflect on the outside, and like a virus, infect others around you. Passion is one of the key dimensions of leadership – and you will have to demonstrate plenty of it as you “make no little plans.”
All of us have passion. We don’t discover it at the right time, that’s all. Once we bring passion into our system we will find that we achieve greater satisfaction in whatever we do irrespective of the result.
One of my plans for myself, is to go on my own. I have a person in whom I can trust and rely on! We are sure we shall build a successful enterprise once we get together. That’s because we are confident of our fundamental values. While being confident, we are somewhere unable to convince ourselves that we will be able to sell this idea of leaving a lucrative job with a regular monthly paycheck and jump into something which might leave us with nothing at all to our well-wishers and family members.
But we have the passion and the vision to change India into a developed country. We are willing to put in all our efforts to make this happen. We are ready to be the change. The question is when. I will not lie saying that I am brimming with ideas to make this happen. I am trying to think. Think of better ways of achieving my two-fold objective: Better India and Our survival. If you have ideas I am open to discussion. I have to answer the question of “when” myself and to my future business partner. He will have a different idea. We need to converge on a single idea and then, that’s it. Be the change!
The idea has to be powerful enough to change the world. Otherwise, what’s the use? I can’t start a kirana store and expect the world to change! We need to work on a powerful concept friend! Let’s put our minds together. We live apart, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to think and discuss. We should be ready to give our full commitment at the drawing board stage. The idea gains strength and belief as we work on it more and more. We need to get together friend. Let’s build a better India. It’s in our hands. Let’s do it.